For more than 25 years, MBO has led the charge to keep the independent economy moving forward. And now we are thrilled to give you an exclusive look at the individuals who have made our company what it is today. We are happy to launch new series which highlights the team that power our platform, many of whom you’ve met, and others that we hope you’ll enjoy getting to know! Please enjoy our featured series: the Staff Spotlight.
This month we spoke to Nicole Cieslicki: Sr. Director of International Services, who helps MBO continue allowing our clients to do the work they love, the way they want, each and every day. And if there’s anyone in our company who reminds us why we started and where we are headed it’s Nicole! Read our exclusive interview with Nicole to learn more about how she always works with integrity and towards goals she believes have meaning and purpose.
Like always, when I first sit down with one of our staff spotlight picks, I want to know why they are choosing to work for MBO. Nicole’s answer:
The pace of change/evolution – as Miles would say – “seeing the possible”. I’ve only been at MBO a relatively short time and it is amazing how much has changed in that time, especially in international. We keep pushing ahead to make positive impacts that are important to our clients. Being at a smaller company means you really get to feel/experience and help drive that impact.
She went on to say she chose the specific industry only because of:
Happenstance. I learned about MBO when I attended a meeting to discuss how MBO could support my then employer’s international needs. I remember being impressed with the support MBO offered to independent consultants so reached out to Gene when I decided to strike out on my own. Not only did MBO help me set up my business to work independently, but it was also my first client.
What solidified my joining MBO was being given the opportunity to build something and watch it evolve over time which feeds my entrepreneurial spirit while being supported by an amazing team of colleagues who share their knowledge with me on a daily basis.
Then when I asked her what personality trait she has that makes her effective in her current role, she told me:
Curiosity in the sense that I like to know how things work. As a consultant, the standard I set for myself is to give “practical, technically correct and implementable advice.”
To me that means
(1) you have to understand the context in which you are giving advice (to make sure it’s practical) so you have to be curious and learn your clients’ business or whatever the context might be;
(2) of course you want to give the right answer so you need to put in the work/do the research to make sure that happens
(3) and you have to take that one step beyond and know how that advice translates into practice so that you can “test” your advice, anticipate questions and have answers at the ready.
I then asked Nicole if anyone during her career gave her any advice that affected the way she approaches her everyday work life. She told me;
“If it feels good don’t send it.”
Take some time, control your emotions, and handle the situation with courtesy and professionalism versus the opposite. You never know where your e-mail may be sent (or nowadays when you will be filmed). Clearly, I have received other influential advice, but this one has stuck with me since it’s simple and so easy to remember. Plus, it applies to both professional and personal situations.
I then wanted to know if there was any words of advice she would give to young adults entering the workforce.
Learn as much as you can from others (both the good and the bad); and don’t be afraid to follow a different path/create your own.
Also, when it comes to making decisions, especially tough ones, think about having to look yourself in the mirror daily and being satisfied with what you see – this speaks to being accountable for your actions and choices and making the ones that are right for you.
Her favorite quote seems to go hand in hand with this message as well:
It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that makes happiness.
After seeing how Nicole always makes sure she is working towards goals that have value and purpose we wanted to know if she lived the same worldview in her personal life.
When interviewing Nicole about her personal life it was obvious to us that she lived each day trying to be the best version of herself. And whether it was through her hobbies, which she told us were:
Traveling internationally, hanging out with friends and family, listening to music, helping friends/neighbors with their design dilemmas, being at the beach (preferably in the Caribbean) where I can walk/jog, swim, watch the sun rise and set or just be lazy and read a good book and most recently, attempt paddle-boarding.
I then asked her what her dream career would be if she wasn’t working for MBO. She told me she had multiple dreams growing up:
It varies between interior design/decorating and being a prosecutor (criminal law). I’ve done the former on the side and that will likely be my post-retirement career.
Also knowing how talented Nicole is in the workforce, I wanted to know if there were any hidden talents she had in her every day life as well. And yes, Nicole turned out to be one of our most talented employees. She told me:
I twirl batons…just for fun and I bake my family’s German Christmas cookies and cakes. Friends and neighbors tell me they look like they were professionally made. The cookie recipes are vague and they take a lot of patience (not my usual forte), but they are special to my brother and a way to honor my family traditions since both of my parents have passed away.
On a day to day basis I wanted to know Nicole’s can’t live withouts. She told me:
Music, the beach, and coffee. Chocolate almost made the list…well truthfully, a close friend put it on my list and he’s probably right!
Then as far as goals go for Nicole, she told me:
I don’t have a bucket list per se, but two things I still want to do are visit Prague (Czech Republic) and go on a picture safari in Africa.
And finally, to get to know her even more, I asked if she’s done anything that she’s glad she did, but would NEVER do again. She answered:
A sprint triathlon that involves swimming in the Skuylkill River (sorry, PA).
Once the interview came to an end I could see that Nicole always found meaning and purpose to everything she does. She is an inspiration to all of us at MBO and reminds anyone who works with her that they must truly be honest with themselves and work in a role where they feel like they are working towards a greater purpose and can make a difference!
Eager to learn more about or submit a member of the MBO team for a future spotlight? Drop us a line and share your suggested submission. We’ll continue this series throughout 2022 and beyond.